Whilst on my trails I find it disheartening to see so many of our former airfields disappear under builders machinery or industry looking for a cheap alternative to building their own premises. Using the guise of ‘recycling’ old sites, they fail to understand the history, importance or significance of these ‘brown field’ places.
These airfield were not simply a place where aircraft took off and landed a long time ago, but they are places where people died, suffered terrible injuries. were traumatised or lost loved ones and friends. It’s where young men, many away from their families for the first time, spent their last days on gods earth before giving themselves up in the name of peace.
Yes I see the relevance and difficult balance between the building infrastructure, jobs and housing needs against the desire to preserve small areas of heritage, history and desire to respect the need to preserve what are important marks that represent a major tuning point in the worlds development. It is hard, and not one that any political or historical follower takes lightly I’m sure. But if it were not for volunteers, people with a real understandings of the relevance of these matters, we would have very little to show for what was an incredible and turbulent time in world history.
Is there an answer? I don’t know, I wish I did. It would be easy to say “save every airfield” but for what? To rot, to be a time capsule soaking money form important public areas like health and education. Or is it dig them up, we don’t need them it was a long time ago, let’s move on!
All I know is, with each visit I make a little more of history disappears, a memory is lost and as the years roll on, a veteran passes away. Something needs doing and it needs doing soon.